To tell you the truth, I never meant to be a horror writer. Everyone knew me as the sci-fi guy; that’s where I began. But, somewhere, along the way, this became the artistic avenue I connected to the most.
I say, whenever possible, “I am a horror writer.” Because I want that to stick. I want people to get what that means, even if I am not sure, myself, what I mean.
I’ve talked, at length, about my want for and to create dark stories. I do not fully understand my proclivity, but I know it has affected me. At some point, after I’d spent a good deal of time trying to come up with horror concepts, and studying other instances of it, it became clinical.
And, once something is clinical, it’s less poignant. True story: in high school, we had people from different professions come by to speak with us. A serviceman, a doctor, and even an inventor of commercial products.
But, also, a person who dealt with forensics.
And, that day changed something in me. Because, as we talked (and I was one of the people more willing to ask questions and interact with her) something became clear to me: she was not bothered by death.
Then, later, I noticed it in certain police officers and firefighters too: they were desensitized, dealing with human darkness so much talking about death was almost a hollow thing. I am sure they feel, on some level, quite a bit of life’s darkness, but it’s not outward. They must not have the energy to consider it all the time.
I can’t blame them for that. How else does someone keep their sanity?
Now, it’s not comparable, not really, not close, but I kill fictional people. And to the fate of characters, even ones I did not personally make, I am rather unperturbed most of the time. That’s not to say I am actively watching the Saw franchise, but I’ve always remembered that way that forensic worker could talk about dead people, and how now I can do the same, no matter how horrific.
I have great empathy for people and am rather squeamish—something I learned for certain when I had my blood drawn recently—but, when it comes to stories and movies, you must go truly fucked up to even make a dent in my mood.
And, well, as strange as this sounds: I miss the sensation of being repulsed by a story told darkly. It’s been a long time since I’ve had a nightmare spurned by fake people and weaved stories.
I’m compelled to go looking.
But God does that quest make it hard to interact with other people sometimes. There’s having a dark sense of humor, and then there’s the being able to stare into an abyss and find it funny.
Special thanks to: Bob Gerkin, Collin Pearman, Dylan Alexander, Jerry Banfield, and Michael The Comic Nerd.
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